Electric vehicle owners who live in houses with dedicated parking spot or garage are always interested in new, convenient charging methods for their cars. AeroVironment, the leading provider of advanced EV charging solutions, is well aware of this demand. Their range of residential charging stations is compatible with the vast majority of electric vehicles and offers up to 5x faster charging than Level 1 cord sets that often come with electric vehicles.
This is possible thanks to AeroVironment’s 30-year expertise and close partnerships with leading electric vehicle manufacturers, such as Nissan, Ford, Volvo, or Fiat. Their products are known for high reliability and rugged design capable of operating under all weather conditions, which is essential for daily use.
The AeroVironment EV Charger is particularly popular because of their ease of operation and worry-free nature. The company offers a help with installation, but those with sufficient skill will be able to perform it by themselves.
What We Like
- Fast charging: Most car manufacturers supply only Level 1 charger with their electric vehicles. While that’s completely understandable given the obvious limitations of 120V, it’s really not an optimal solution for everyday use. For example, a Leaf takes around 22 hours to reach a full charge with a Level 1 charger, which translates into roughly 4.5 miles of range for every hour of charging. Such a low charging rate may work for a hybrid vehicle, but it certainly wouldn’t be enough for a fully electric one. AeroVironment EV charger operates on 240V and 30A, thus adding around 30 miles of range per every hour. You’ll be able to start charging your empty car when you get home from work and have it at 100% in the morning.
- Many branding options and guaranteed compatibility: AeroVironment work hand-in-hand with leading car manufacturers to optimize their products for maximum performance and compatibility. The same home EV charging station is available with various plastic faceplates corresponding to individual manufacturers, such as Kia, Mitsubishi, Volvo, Toyota, Tesla, BMW, and many others. This is a great way how you can express your affinity for a particular brand and make your garage look just a little bit nicer.
- Safe and reliable charging solution: EV chargers operate at high voltages and are designed to be used on a daily basis by all family members. As such, safety should be the top priority of any responsible manufacturer who wants to give their customers peace of mind. AeroVironment’s close cooperation with UL, an American worldwide safety consulting and certification company, means that their products pass even the most rigorous standards and quality requirements. All home charging stations can be installed either indoors or outdoors and come with 3-year manufacturer’s warranty. Only a company with many years of experience and a substantial R&D budget could earn a trust of more than 25,000 electric vehicle drivers from all over the world.
- Multiple versions available: Branded versions aside, the AeroVironment EV charger comes in 4 basic variants. There’s the 25’ cable option and a shorter 15’ one. The 25’ long charger is also available in a plug-in configuration. The plug-in solution is perfect for those who already have the compatible outlet in place. In such case, all you need to do is to plug it in and start charging – no installation fee and no waiting. It also let you change the charger’s location without paying a qualified electrician to do the job. Finally, if your garage is made for just one car, or you park very close to the charger, you can save more than $100 by purchasing a charger with a shorter cable. You won’t lose any utility at all, and there won’t be a big coil of cable hanging in your garage.
- Easy to use: The AeroVironment EV charger is built with an ease of use in mind. The charger can automatically figure everything out, and you will only rarely have to use the Start or Stop button on the panel. It can restart itself when the power goes off and has built-in auto short circuit and ground fault protection.
- Simple installation: The installation of this EVSE is so simple that people familiar with high voltage work can even perform it by themselves. Of course, if you aren’t 100% sure about your technical ability, you should always hire a qualified electrician. Essentially, you need to have a dual pole non-GFCI 40A breaker in place and connect it with the charger using 8/2 ROMEX cable. Alternatively, you can install a NEMA 6-50 outlet for plug-in installation.
What We Don’t Like
- No overcharge detection: Unlike the dual voltage unit from AeroVironment, their home charger doesn’t seem to have an overcharge detection ability built into it. At least one customer had his car battery ruined as a result of overcharge. Normally, the car handles the battery status monitoring and sends information to the charging unit. However, it’s good to have a backup in case this mechanism fails.
- Subpar handle design: The handle fits pretty tight in a Nissan Leaf, and the release button doesn’t feel as solid as the rest of the unit. These are just small annoyances, but they take away from the daily experience.
- Annoying sounds: The biggest problem with this charger is the buzzing sound it makes while charging a car. The sound can pass through walls and wake you up during the night. What’s more, the relay click is also much louder than what we are used to from other brands. For example, OEM EVSE units from Nissan and Panasonic are completely silent.
The AeroVironment EV charger is an excellent and tested choice that comes with an endorsement from major electric vehicle manufacturers and a highly respected safety organization. But the charging station isn’t without a few flaws. The issue with noise, in particular, could be a deal breaker for people who sleep close to the place where the charger is installed. It’s highly probable that some revision of the internal hardware will fix the problem, but it’s definitely something to consider, until that’s confirmed.